Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer is the author of several novels, including The Chocolatier’s Wife and the short story collection Wishes and Sorrows.  She loves mixing fantasy, mystery and romance and playing with the old stories.  When not writing she can be found reading, teaching people historical fencing, and costuming. 

Connect with Cindy on the Web:


Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author:  This book is actually the work of many years, because it collects short stories from the past decade or so.  I write longer works, but short stories have a special place in my heart.  Some stories are simply not novel shaped, they don’t have all the narrative strands – and I love that, I love the hard focus on one aspect of a story.  So, whenever I get one of these stories in my head, I write them down and polish them in between bigger projects.
Is this your first book?
Author:  No, it’s my fourth.  Your readers are more likely to know me from The Chocolatier’s Wife, which is also published through Dragonwell.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author:  I choose this publisher originally because my previous publisher had gone out of business, and another author (Ania Kashina, an awesome fellow author) from my old press was already going to be published by Dragonwell.  She suggested I consider them, and they have treated me amazingly. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  I started out my journey looking at the traditional manner of publishing…trying to get an agent, trying to get into one of the big companies.  The fact is, that is the route a lot of people are going.  It is extremely hard to get in because it is extremely easy for the traditional publishers to say no.  That might sound like sour grapes, but if you look at the reviews for The Chocolatier’s Wife, I can assure you that it’s not that I was not good enough for the big places…but I was just one of a billion untried voices.  Now I have settled in with two publishers…Dragonwell and Zumaya.  I get fair royalties, and great editing…and my covers are awesome.  So, my advice, always, is, if you desperately want to publish with a huge publisher go ahead and try.  Half of being an author is being lucky.  Get it out of your system.  If you get lucky…woo!  If not, then start looking at smaller presses.  What you want to look for is the quality of the finished book…are the covers professional looking?  Do people complain a lot about the editing?  Because at the end of the day, no matter who you sign with, a lot of the work is going to be yours.  You need something…I hate to say this, but a product…you can stand behind and sell to people with conviction.  Something that looks good and is quality.  Also, you can actually build a back list with a small press…that is almost impossible with larger ones.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author:  I learned, really, that a huge chunk of your success is based on hard luck and work…talent comes in, certainly, but you have to be willing to put in the time and really keep at it. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author:  Certainly.  Small presses give you some support, and better royalties…I think you have a much better chance building a career with a smaller press.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author:  Someone out there loves your book.  Don’t give up or think it’s impossible…keep looking for opportunities and be ready to jump on them. 



Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with James Ryan Daley, author of 'Jesus Jackson'

James Ryan Daley is a writer, editor, and digital designer. After earning an MFA in fiction at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004, James has spent most of the years since then teaching writing to college students, creating websites, and editing anthologies of fiction and political rhetoric. He lives in Newport, RI with his wife and two daughters.

Purchase his book, JESUS JACKSON, on Amazon

Questionnaire:

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: The main reason I became an author is because I'm far too distractable to sit in an office all day. As far as my reasons for writing Jesus Jackson are concerned, I think it really came out of my love of mysteries, and my long-time interest in the ways that people make sense of their lives.
Is this your first book?
Author: Yes.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: My books is being published by The Poisoned Pencil, the new Young Adult imprint of Poisoned Pen Press. PPP is a small press, but they have a long-standing reputation for publishing high-quality, intelligent mysteries. I couldn’t be happier. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  For me, one of the biggest and most important parts of the publishing process was coming to an understanding of the Young Adult genre. I didn't really think of Jesus Jackson as a YA title until after I started looking for an agent, and was encouraged to pitch it that way.  I quickly came to see what a good fit Jesus Jackson could be for YA, but it took a little revision (and a lot of reading) to make it happen.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: You have to have patience--a lot of patience. Nothing moves particularly fast in book publishing, but it when it goes slow, it goes really really slow.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Definitely.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Author: My advice is to focus all of your energy on writing a book that you would want to buy, read, and recommend to your friends.  Don’t worry so much about how you’ll get it published. By far, the single most effective thing you can do to improve your chances at getting a book deal is to write a better book. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Marilyn Horowitz, author of The Book of Zev



The Book of Zev Book Tour 

Name: Marilyn Ida Horowitz
Book Title: The Book Of Zev
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Koehler Books
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Marilyn: I have been writing my whole life—plays, screenplays, books, and articles—and for the last fifteen years at New York University, I have been teaching people how to use my trademarked writing system to write screenplays and novels. I met a man on a train, a religious Jew having a crisis of faith, and our conversation inspired me to write The Book of Zev. I wrote a novel rather than a script because the story is involved with the characters’ inner thoughts and the screenplay form limits that.
Is this your first book?
Marilyn: Yes and no. I have written several books on screenwriting, two of which are textbooks at NYU, and many years ago I wrote a novel that was optioned by a Hollywood producer but has not yet been published.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Marilyn: The Book of Zev is structured a bit unusually. A small boutique house, Koehler Books, shared my vision and picked up my book in a traditional deal.  One day I may self-publish, but I am so thrilled to have the support of a publishing house behind Zev.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Marilyn: For eight difficult and frustrating months, my agent tried to sell the book. No one would even read it. Finally, I got the deal with Koehler Books. It was a dream come true. My work was improved, and the physical book is beautifully designed with a perfect cover. One of the cons is that it can seem to take forever to land a publishing contract, but the biggest pro is that if you stick with the journey, your book can get published!
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Marilyn: Don’t wholly depend on an agent to sell your work. You have to be prepared to promote your own work and to educate yourself about all aspects of publicity, both traditional and online.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Marilyn: All forms of publishing have their pluses and minuses. Make a decision based on your book, not on any prejudices you may have regarding the publishing process.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Marilyn: Writers, write! Write about everything, write all the time, scribble notes, and be patient with the process. When you are writing and start to stress out, remember that you can’t read the label when you are inside the jar.
The motto of my trademarked writing system is: Don’t Get It Right, Get It Written, and I live by that.



The Book of Zev Synopsis 


The Book of Zev is a black-comedy thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the recording, a series of events forces them to connect with a powerful terrorist in order to thwart his plans to destroy the UN and Israel.

Click here to read an Excerpt of The Book of Zev  

Follow Marilyn's Tour at Pump Up Your Book

Pre-order from Amazon

 



Author Marilyn Horowitz
About Marilyn Horowitz
Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.

Follow Marilyn at her website, www.marilynhorowitz.com

@marilynhorowitz



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Beverly Stowe McClure

When Beverly Stowe McClure was in eighth grade, her teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and she was soon a published writer in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry. Today, Beverly is a cum laude graduate of Midwestern State University with a BSEd degree. For twenty-two years, she taught children to read and write. They taught her patience. She is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices in her head tell her. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps photos of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. She also enjoys visiting with her family and teaching a women’s Sunday school class at her church. Her articles have been published in leading children’s magazines. Two of her stories are in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ANTHOLOGIES, and she has nine novels published, two of them award winning novels at Children’s Literary Classics and other competitions. 

Connect with Beverly on the Net:


Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?

Beverly: Unlike most authors, I never planned or wanted to be an author. I wasn't even crazy about reading. Life is strange though and we often surprise ourselves by the paths we follow. I taught in elementary school for twenty-two years. Reading Newbery winning books with my students made me realize what I had been missing: Reading was fun. Then I started wondering what it would be like to write one of those great books, the satisfaction the author must have when she saw children reading her stories and possibly learning something from them. I decided to give writing a try and see what it was like. I started with articles for children's magazines, mostly about things we did in the classroom: science experiments and art projects. From there I switched to writing novels. I'm so happy I did.

Is this your first book?

Beverly: No, this is my ninth book.

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?

Beverly: MuseItUp Publishing is a small press, fairly new. I chose this publisher because they publish the ebook within a year and print books follow the next year or thereabouts. They also do lovely work. My other novels are also with small presses, and I've been pleased with each of them.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

Beverly: When I first decided to write, I had no idea where to start, so I signed up for a mail course in writing. The instructor taught me the basics and I was successful in having some magazine articles published in leading children's magazines, as I mentioned above. I then took another course on writing novels and thought, Oh boy, this will be easy. When I finished my first novel, I sent the manuscript to a couple of New York publishers, positive they'd want my story. I learned pretty quickly it wasn't that easy. They weren't too impressed. After a while I put that story away in a box. It's still there. I didn't give up, however, and wrote a second YA novel. I sent it to a few traditional publishers with no luck. Then I saw a small publisher mentioned on a message board and decided to try them. They accepted the story and published it as an ebook. They also went out of business the next year. I found another small publisher for the book: eBook and print. It’s been out since 2006. For my next novel, I submitted the manuscript to several agents. Some had helpful remarks, but they didn't offer representation. The rest of my books, from picture books to young adult, are with small presses.

The smaller publishers, to me, are more like a family. There is a lot of support from the other authors at a house, as well as the publishers, illustrators, and editors.

I suppose the major cons are the difficulty of getting books in physical bookstores and reviewed by the major magazines, like School Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

Beverly: It was easy for me to get discouraged. I taped many of the letters that had encouraging notes on them from agents and editors to the wall in my writing room to remind me they found something positive about the story. It just wasn’t for them. I stayed the course and never gave up. The writing world is tough, but I was determined to find the publisher(s) that liked my work. My critique groups (I'm in two) help so much in finding scenes that don't make sense or that repeat something I've already written. The Internet has made submitting easier today, since most publishers accept and even prefer emailed submissions. Also, writers have more options today in publishing their work. Many are self-publishing and doing quite well, from what I hear.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

Beverly: Small presses work for me. I can't say for others, because everyone is different. It doesn't hurt to try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?


Beverly: Believe in yourself and write, write, write. Also, read a lot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Carolyn Wolfe, Author of The Book of Tall Tales, Myth and Magic, The Moonsparrow Collection


Author Carolyn Wolfe

Name: Carolyn Wolfe
Book Title: The Moonsparrow Collection
Genre: Magical Realism
Publisher: Avid Readers Publishing Group
The Moonsparrow Collection is comprised of a tapestry of Tall Tales, Myth and Magic. This compilation of tales is the best of Ms. Wolfe's original published and unpublished Short Stories, and includes the stories that she has introduced at local public writing events and festivals.  The subject matter ranges from: A woman who turns a small town on its ear, to: a Magical midnight concert in the woods. It is a light journey into a magical world when anything can happen, and usually does


Title is available at Amazon

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

Excerpt from The Moonsparrow Collection

 A Beltane Tale

However, if she were really truthful with herself, she knew this was about more than just singing with him. His voice enchanted her, the simplicity of him singing in the woods, pouring his heart out with each word, set up a longing in her for more than just singing with him. That was the true reason she had not approached him.

This Beltane gathering conjured up all kinds of ideas in her head. She knew Beltane was a time of romance, fertility and new beginnings and that many a relationship had it's not so humble beginnings at this time of year. She was just not quite ready for all the feelings this gathering had conjured up in her. She simply was not quite ready yet, at least that's what she told herself.

Truck Stop Virgin

Brandy was quite a looker, the nearest thing to a sin in an unmarried woman, at least the women think so. Men are a bit more forgiving about that particular fault. Even so, everyone could tell just by looking at Brandy that this gal was trouble!

Mark U. Rye
This does not have any dragons or sword and sorcery, as a matter of fact it is more of a tall tale, but I think you just might recognize the main character, even if he is in disguise..... his name is the clue....

His name was Mark Rye, well actually, he would introduce himself far more formally then his deeply creased jeans would have suggested.  Mark U. Rye, he would grin, with a grin that sticks to you like warm oatmeal swallowed on an extra cold day.  The U. was for Ulysses, a name he was extremely proud of and never did he have the hesitation that some folks have about their middle, and somewhat old fashioned names.

Mark called himself a communicator, although his busted old guitar hardly seemed to command that sort of respectability, at least not at first sight.  But oh, that boy could make it sing with nine tongues and all of them golden!
Read the full excerpt at the author’s website
 
Interview
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?

Is this your first book?
Carolyn:
No, however this is my first book of short stories. I love the short story genre, to create a universe full of characters and yet have it be a very short journey, is both challenging and a lot of fun. My others books include a line of children’s picture books, The Unhappy Little Dragon and The Bedtime of the Sky and The Drowsy House .  

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Carolyn:
I published it through a wonderful Publisher as an Indie author. In other words, the Publisher helped me format, publish and print my book, but I was in control of the process.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Carolyn:
I love being an independent author, publishing through a small publisher- Avid Readers Publishing Group. We work as a team, co-creating the process of putting my book together. I also love working with Illustrators on my children’s books and find them easy to work with, and very gifted. I am also one of a group of authors (I am not an Indie writer for them) with another Publisher in England- MoonRose Publishing. It is wonderful to be a part of a community of writers that support each others work, share frustrations, and motivate each other! I would recommend both ways of getting your work out there.  I did a great deal of research and made my share of mistakes before finding, what for me is the perfect balance.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Carolyn:
I have learned to be very wary of scams. I have fallen for a few along the way and it is a hard way to learn a lesson. I now read a great deal of “watchdog” blogs such as “Writer Beware”. I believe the publishing  world is changing very fast. Of course, when I first started submitting my work, in the late 1970’s- I was submitting it through the mail, with a self-addressed stamped envelope included, so that my work could be sent back to me. I poured over my Library copy of “The Writer’s Market” looking for publishers to send my work to and instead of a computer, I typed all of my work on a Selectric Typewriter! We’ve come a long way since then!!!!
I think that the Publishing industry is opening up considerably and it is no longer a stigma to be an Independent Author. As a matter of fact, I believe it is a terrific opportunity to let the public decide what they want to read, rather than have it filtered from a narrow  and perhaps somewhat elitist group of companies that tell the public what they should be reading.
I am happy with the changes that have occurred and believe that this is just the beginning.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Carolyn:
Yes, I would. I think that after a writer does their research, they will be able to find the publishing process that works best for them. I would highly recommend that an author keep control over their work and over the process of how they want their book to be out there in the world.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Carolyn:
  I would say to an aspiring author-research, research, research! There is so much information about writing, marketing and getting your work out there as an Independent author.  There are also lots of scams and expensive vanity presses that will eat up all of your money and deliver very little. Be aware of all of your options and research the publisher before committing to anything. It is a Buyer Beware market out there for Indie Publishers, but it is also very rewarding when you find the perfect process and publishing match, for your book!  Don’t give up and don’t give away all of your savings! There is the right publisher for your book out there, and if you would prefer, you can do it all yourself! Just believe in what you are doing and you will be a very happy author!
Carolyn Wolfe is a free-lance writer, published poet, and author of eight books, which range from poetry to fantasy and includes children's literature. Her body of work includes writing articles for newspapers and newsletters, and hosting poetry events in the Winchester area.

Her books include two poetry books "Notes From The Shadow Self" and "WhenThe Moon Speaks", a collection of original light fantasy stories titled "The Moonsparrow Collection" and four children's books "The Bedtime Of The Sky and Other Sleepy-Bye Stories", The Unhappy Little Dragon Lessons Begin" and "The Unhappy Little Dragon, Lessons Learned" and “The Drowsy House“.  

Her newest fantasy/romance novella, "Blades's Magic" is a sword and sorcery adventure for an adult readership. Wolfe lives in Winchester VA with her Husband Scott and many animal companions. Please visit her website

  
Carolyn Wolfe's Children's Books 




 
  
Carolyn Wolfe's Children's Book